Monday, December 2, 2019

Status Quo Begets Status Quo

I have been listening to the book Brave New Work by Aaron Dignon. Have you read it? I find it very interesting. 

When talk we (I) think about Process Behavior Charts (PBCs), it is usually in order to filter out the “noise” and highlight any “signals" in our metrics; to determine if we are still within the Natural Process Limits (NPLs). A PBC that stays within the NPLs indicates the system which the metric is monitoring is working as it was designed. Any data outside of the NPLs is one (of three) of the signals that indicates something has changed in the system, necessitating the need for closer scrutiny.  A PBC is referred to as the “Voice of the System” (VOS).

But the corollary to this is: 

If you are not happy with where the metric is charting, then in order to improve the chart, it means changing (improving) the system; the thinking and approach. 

As Dignon points out, if we want a 10-fold increase in production, we pretty much intuit that that will require major changes in our thinking and approach; the system. But, if we are only looking for a 10% improvement, somehow, we think that that can be achieved by "status quo " thinking. He calls this the "status quo bias." Any change in the metric requires a change in the system; the thinking and approach.

Even the modest 10% change will require different thinking and approach. Status quo thinking will only lead to status quo results. So, when the Practice Manager or area director (or even the C-suite) issues a new goal or benchmark for the new year or next operating period, then our response should be, "Great!! What are you all going to change within your thinking and approach (the system) to result in any chance of hitting that new goal?” Because, without that change first, the new goal 'just ain't going to happen!' Commanding it to happen or incentivizing it to happen or threatening if it doesn't happen will not make so.

Status quo begets status quo!

Remember, operational systems are created by and are the responsibility of Management. Workers are at the mercy of systems! 

Come join Mark Graban and I at the 2020 AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago as we facilitate the audience participation workshop of W. Edward’s Deming’s “Red Bead Experiment” which was designed to illuminate these concepts and more. 

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